13.6.15. Limits on InnoDB Tables


Do not convert MySQL system tables in the mysql database from MyISAM to InnoDB tables! This is an unsupported operation. If you do this, MySQL does not restart until you restore the old system tables from a backup or re-generate them with the mysql_install_db script.


It is not a good idea to configure InnoDB to use data files or log files on NFS volumes. Otherwise, the files might be locked by other processes and become unavailable for use by MySQL.

Maximums and Minimums

Maximums and Minimums

  • A table cannot contain more than 1000 columns.

  • The InnoDB internal maximum key length is 3500 bytes, but MySQL itself restricts this to 3072 bytes.

  • Index key prefixes can be up to 767 bytes. See Section 12.1.11, “CREATE INDEX Syntax”.

  • The maximum row length, except for variable-length columns (VARBINARY, VARCHAR, BLOB and TEXT), is slightly less than half of a database page. That is, the maximum row length is about 8000 bytes. LONGBLOB and LONGTEXT columns must be less than 4GB, and the total row length, including BLOB and TEXT columns, must be less than 4GB.

    If a row is less than half a page long, all of it is stored locally within the page. If it exceeds half a page, variable-length columns are chosen for external off-page storage until the row fits within half a page, as described in Section, “File Space Management”.

  • Although InnoDB supports row sizes larger than 65535 internally, you cannot define a row containing VARBINARY or VARCHAR columns with a combined size larger than 65535:

    mysql> CREATE TABLE t (a VARCHAR(8000), b VARCHAR(10000),
        -> c VARCHAR(10000), d VARCHAR(10000), e VARCHAR(10000),
        -> f VARCHAR(10000), g VARCHAR(10000)) ENGINE=InnoDB;
    ERROR 1118 (42000): Row size too large. The maximum row size for the
    used table type, not counting BLOBs, is 65535. You have to change some
    columns to TEXT or BLOBs
  • On some older operating systems, files must be less than 2GB. This is not a limitation of InnoDB itself, but if you require a large tablespace, you will need to configure it using several smaller data files rather than one or a file large data files.

  • The combined size of the InnoDB log files must be less than 4GB.

  • The minimum tablespace size is 10MB. The maximum tablespace size is four billion database pages (64TB). This is also the maximum size for a table.

Index Types

  • InnoDB tables do not support FULLTEXT indexes.

Index Types

  • InnoDB tables support spatial data types, but not indexes on them.

Maximums and Minimums

  • SHOW TABLE STATUS does not give accurate statistics on InnoDB tables, except for the physical size reserved by the table. The row count is only a rough estimate used in SQL optimization.

  • InnoDB does not keep an internal count of rows in a table, because concurrent transactions might “see” different numbers of rows at the same time. To process a SELECT COUNT(*) FROM t statement, InnoDB scans an index of the table, which takes some time if the index is not entirely in the buffer pool. If your table does not change often, using the MySQL query cache is a good solution. To get a fast count, you have to use a counter table you create yourself and let your application update it according to the inserts and deletes it does. SHOW TABLE STATUS also can be used if an approximate row count is sufficient. See Section, “InnoDB Performance Tuning Tips”.

  • On Windows, InnoDB always stores database and table names internally in lowercase. To move databases in a binary format from Unix to Windows or from Windows to Unix, create all databases and tables using lowercase names.

  • For an AUTO_INCREMENT column, you must always define an index for the table, and that index must contain just the AUTO_INCREMENT column. In MyISAM tables, the AUTO_INCREMENT column may be part of a multi-column index.

  • While initializing a previously specified AUTO_INCREMENT column on a table, InnoDB sets an exclusive lock on the end of the index associated with the AUTO_INCREMENT column. In accessing the auto-increment counter, InnoDB uses a specific table lock mode AUTO-INC where the lock lasts only to the end of the current SQL statement, not to the end of the entire transaction. Other clients cannot insert into the table while the AUTO-INC table lock is held; see Section, “AUTO_INCREMENT Handling in InnoDB.

  • When you restart the MySQL server, InnoDB may reuse an old value that was generated for an AUTO_INCREMENT column but never stored (that is, a value that was generated during an old transaction that was rolled back).

Index Types

  • When an AUTO_INCREMENT integer column runs out of values, a subsequent INSERT operation returns a duplicate-key error. This is general MySQL behavior, similar to how MyISAM works.

  • DELETE FROM tbl_name does not regenerate the table but instead deletes all rows, one by one.

  • Under some conditions, TRUNCATE tbl_name for an InnoDB table is mapped to DELETE FROM tbl_name. See Section 12.1.27, “TRUNCATE TABLE Syntax”.

  • In MySQL 5.5, the MySQL LOCK TABLES operation acquires two locks on each table if innodb_table_locks = 1 (the default). In addition to a table lock on the MySQL layer, it also acquires an InnoDB table lock. Older versions of MySQL did not acquire InnoDB table locks; the old behavior can be selected by setting innodb_table_locks = 0. If no InnoDB table lock is acquired, LOCK TABLES completes even if some records of the tables are being locked by other transactions.

  • All InnoDB locks held by a transaction are released when the transaction is committed or aborted. Thus, it does not make much sense to invoke LOCK TABLES on InnoDB tables in autocommit = 1 mode, because the acquired InnoDB table locks would be released immediately.

  • Sometimes it would be useful to lock further tables in the course of a transaction. Unfortunately, LOCK TABLES in MySQL performs an implicit COMMIT and UNLOCK TABLES. An InnoDB variant of LOCK TABLES has been planned that can be executed in the middle of a transaction.

  • The default database page size in InnoDB is 16KB. By recompiling the code, you can set it to values ranging from 8KB to 64KB. You must update the values of UNIV_PAGE_SIZE and UNIV_PAGE_SIZE_SHIFT in the univ.i source file.


    Changing the page size is not a supported operation and there is no guarantee that InnoDB will function normally with a page size other than 16KB. Problems compiling or running InnoDB may occur. In particular, ROW_FORMAT=COMPRESSED in the InnoDB Plugin assumes that the page size is at most 16KB and uses 14-bit pointers.

    A version of InnoDB built for one page size cannot use data files or log files from a version built for a different page size.

  • Currently, cascaded foreign key actions do not activate triggers.

  • You cannot create a table with a column name that matches the name of an internal InnoDB column (including DB_ROW_ID, DB_TRX_ID, DB_ROLL_PTR, and DB_MIX_ID). The server reports error 1005 and refers to error –1 in the error message. This limitation applies only to use of the names in uppercase.

  • The limit of 1023 concurrent data-modifying transactions has been raised in MySQL 5.5 and above. The limit is now 128 * 1023 concurrent transactions that generate undo records. You can remove any workarounds that require changing the proper structure of your transactions, such as committing more frequently or delaying DML operations to the end of a transaction.

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